Parenting Win of the Week: Shaving Off Just a Little Bit of Screen Time

A little more structure never hurt anyone.

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Photo by: Os Tartarouchos

Os Tartarouchos

Being in lockdown over 2020 had some serious benefits — we spent way more time together, I learned to cook just about anything and everything, and I could wear sweatpants 24/7. But it also had a lot of negatives beyond just the fear of it all and the home schooling. Since we couldn’t really see friends or family, my kids became reliant on their iPads to interact with their friends. All well and good at the time, but now that things have resumed some level of normalcy, I thought that the screen time obsession would just start to fade into oblivion.

Ha! Was I wrong.

My boys are incredibly active, but it seems like the minute they get off the bus, their sprinting involves running straight to the singular iPad — and then without fail, fighting ensues.

At my wits end, I happened to talk to a friend who told me she took away all iPad time during the school week and although it was tough at first, it has made things better in the long run.

I wasn’t quite ready to rip the band-aid off in that same way, but I knew we needed more regulation. So, we decided to start with no screen time between 5 and 7 p.m. and a few morning limits as well.

We declared this on Monday of last week and braced for impact. And you know what?

Nobody even muttered a complaint!

Instead, they took that time to play with each other, even helped with dinner some days, and seemed to be more regulated overall. They had set time for screens and set time for homework, and it was better than the brain drain that had been happening.

As parents, we had also fallen into that pattern of just staying on our computers working, and this gives us a good set time to break, check in, and prepare for dinner.

I am certain there will be days where they will whine, or it will feel like the longest two hours ever, but I will take the win at this very moment.

It’s easy to forget that kids need structure (heck, we all do!) and I think this gave them the little bit they needed. After a year with so much dysregulation and unstructured time, it was nice to have that reminder that we are slowly inching back into a, dare I say, normal routine.

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